What do you say when you’ve run out of things to say? The obvious answer is to shut up. Or as Ronan Keating put it so poorly in a song which I felt was about telling his other half to shut the **** up “You say it best when you say nothing at all”. Please don’t write in, I know there are other interpretations, that’s just mine. Although to be fair to Ronan, I do sing along. Have I ever switched off in a feminist tantrum? Possibly, yes. I wouldn’t rule that out.
In real life, when you run out of things to say or even when you haven’t, just shut up. It’s restful. It gives us all time to think. It gives the other person a chance to get a word in edgewise. Judith, take note and remember we teach what we most need to learn.
But this isn’t a real-life thing. It’s a podcast thing and the not shutting up thing is rather the point of a podcast.
This week Nicola and I are staring down the barrel of a gun in the run-up to the recording of our 169th episode and we’ve got nothing to talk about. OK, we have some little bits of chit chat which go before and after our main topic but we don’t have a Main Topic. And even on the little bits of chit chat front, it’s a thin week. It’s half term. Nicola says we’ve debated her client issues till the cows come home and that they are the same old same old. And I’ve only done one client this week due to it being half term and I don’t want to throw her to the podcast wolves.
Nicola and I have batted it back and forth in both email and PM and it got a little tetchy because we don’t always agree and as I often remind her, that somewhat chalky cheesy dramatic tension is what makes the show. If we just agreed all the time it would be a yawnfest, though not everyone sees it like that. A trusted colleague once told me that we should get our act together and at least agree with one another on stage. We couldn’t do it. That’s not who we are. I’m a little bit Country, she’s a little bit Rock & Roll. Well, she isn’t actually, she’s more Grunge these days. Yes, it’s true, I saw her say that on Facebook only today. Musically we do have Stevie Wonder in common and occasionally we surprise ourselves, just like on the show.
We do have a couple of topics brewing but I’m not ready to discuss either of them yet because they are still brewing, I’m still working out what I think. And I’m not a fan of repetition which was one of our other options, let’s just revisit the topics of our early shows, no-one will remember. Well, I will. Podcast-wise, I seem to have the memory of an elephant and Creators crave new, new, new.
My first thought was that we wouldn’t record a show tomorrow, that we wouldn’t do it in weeks when we couldn’t think of anything to focus on. We’ve taken it in turns coming up with the main challenge/focus and she tried to foist it back onto me today, the wily little divil, but I wasn’t having any of it. It’s a burden, that’s why. A burden, I tell you.
Or – another option – we’d make much shorter shows and just skip that bit, but clients and listeners have told me that’s their favourite bit, and you’ve got to keep the customer satisfied, satisfi-i-ied. I do hope you are picking up all these musical references today? This isn’t just thrown together, you know. Unlike the podcast, at times.
But I can’t abide a problem without a solution particularly when others are relying on us, so I thunk about it a bit and I thunk about it some more and then I was inspired by Nicola Semple’s Manifesto. I suggested that Nicola C and I might each write our own manifestos and take it in turns to bring a couple of the items to each weekly show to talk about them and debate them with each other. But we’d need a month or so for that ‘cos I’ve got to think about my manifesto first and then write it. But if we came up with as many as Nicola S did (24) then that’d keep us in talk for a while.
My next genius idea was a sort of Loose Women thing. I’ve never seen it (daytime TV, me? Dahling! The very thought of it makes me shudder along with its companion Breakfast TV; what’s THAT all about? Who’s that for? Don’t get it) but Nicola and many a woman I know want to be on the panel. Ours would be less professional version than LW natch, but we’d do a version of what Marion and I used to do when we were challenging each other to blog in 33 minutes. You open up the internet and scroll through until you find something you love or which makes your blood boil or which is discussion-worthy in any sense, and then you blog about it or, in this example, we’d talk about it and probably disagree about it too. We might have to do five minutes prep on that one and even if we do that bit during the show, Nicola can edit it out. She’s nifty with the editing.
My third and final idea (so far) is that we’d have guests in that middle 20-minute slot which could, of course, be recorded in advance if necessary, the alternative being that they sit quietly before and after their bit. Again, another opportunity for Nicola’s Nifty Editing. We’ll work that out, Creators don’t need to know how it’s going to work, that comes later as it all falls together (or apart LOL. I am cracking myself up today). We wouldn’t interview them although that’s always our inclination, coach/inquisitors. And 20 minutes would be a challenge for both them and us. Two minutes to tell us about themselves and their biz (strictly enforced) and then 18 to talk about a topic of the guest’s choosing. Anything. Business. Online Marketing. Or just Having A Life. That would be the price of their guesting, to BRING THE TOPIC. Bring the ****** topic!
I’ve always been against guests. Historically there doesn’t seem to be time to squeeze them in because we’ve never run out of things to say and I am sure this dry patch will pass just as quickly as it has come upon us. But I am thinking if we rotate the occasional guest with a Manifesto episode and revert to a Loose Woman any time we don’t have something we actually DO want to talk about, then we’ve got it covered. For now. Nicola seemed to think so too. She said I was on FIRE. In caps. Genius, see? Told ya.
Now, this doesn’t just apply to Own It The Podcast either. I have my own little podcast on Audioboom* and right now I’m not short of content there because I am reading out one question a week of the 52 from my book Your Biz Your Way, and I’ve already decided to double-up and read out the 52 Blogfest entries too so I reckon I have plenty of content there but it is a MUCH shorter show, often only 5 minutes or less. And the extra double beauty of that one is that it is ad hoc, I just rock up and do it when I have something to say.
Whoever thought the day would come when Nicola and I would have nothing to say? And why has it taken me more than 1300 words to say everything about nothing?
*Check it out on that lovely little player over there on the right-hand side of this page, where it says Radio Show.